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Broadcast Music, INC. v. Second Chance Operating Ventures LLC

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 17, 2017

BROADCAST MUSIC, INC. Plaintiffs
v.
SECOND CHANCE OPERATING VENTURES LLC, Defendants

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Marvin J. Garbis United States District Judge

         The Court has before it Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 26] and the materials submitted relating thereto. The Court has held a hearing and had the benefit of the arguments of counsel.

         I. BACKGROUND

         At all times relevant hereto, Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”) has been, and is, an organization that receives and enforces rights (including copyright rights) with regard to musical compositions owned by others. Prior to the filing of this lawsuit, Plaintiffs other than BMI had assigned to BMI, “the right to license the public performance rights in” the musical compositions at issue. Compl. ¶¶ 3, 4.

         Defendant Second Chance Operating Ventures, LLC (“Second Chance”) is a limited liability company that operates an establishment known as Game Sport's & Social or Baltimore Sports Bar (“the Sports Bar”), located in Baltimore, Maryland. The Sports Bar regularly features performances of live and recorded music. Defendant James Trujillo (“Trujillo”) is the sole owner and sole member of Second Chance, and he also operates the Sports Bar. Defendant William Hotaling (“Hotaling”) is not a member or owner of Second Chance nor involved in the operation of the Sports Bar, but he is the Baltimore City resident liquor licensee on behalf of Second Chance.

         The parties agree that in September 2016, the Sports Bar performed, in the course of its business, the four musical compositions at issue without a license from anyone permitting it to do so.[1]

         There are no genuine issues of material fact regarding the capacity of the Sports Bar, the performance of the musical compositions, the Sports Bar's mode of operation or the communications between BMI and Trujillo regarding licensing. The parties agree that Second Chance infringed the copyrights on the four musical compositions at issue and agree that Second Chance and Trujillo are liable for the infringement. The parties dispute whether Hotaling - a liquor licensee but neither an owner nor manager of the Sports Bar - is liable for infringement. The parties also dispute the extent of damages and the degree of Defendants' culpability with regard to the copyright infringement.

         By the instant motion, Plaintiffs seek summary judgment establishing liability for damages and costs (including fees) on the part of all Defendants, establishing the amounts of statutory damages ($44, 000.00 claimed) and fees ($6, 740.00 claimed) and enjoining future infringements. Defendants agree that Plaintiffs should be granted summary judgment with regard to infringement by the Sports Bar, establishing liability of Defendants Second Chance and Trujillo. There is at issue herein Plaintiffs' request for summary judgment with regard to:

. Any liability of Defendant Hotaling.
. The amount of statutory damages and fees to award.
. Any injunctive relief.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the pleadings and supporting documents “show[] that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

         The well-established principles pertinent to summary judgment motions can be distilled to a simple statement: The Court may look at the evidence presented in regard to a motion for summary judgment through the non-movant's rose-colored glasses, but must view it realistically. After so doing, the essential question is whether a reasonable fact finder could return a verdict for the non-movant or whether the movant would, at trial, be entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See, e.g., Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-323 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Shealy v. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1012 (4th Cir. 1991). Thus, in order “[t]o defeat a motion for summary judgment, the party ...


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